5.0 Knowledge as Verb
In the days when an idea could be silenced by showing that it was contrary to religion, theology, was the greatest single source of fallacies. Today, when any human thought can be discredited by branding it as unscientific, the power exercised previously by theology has passed over to science; hence, science has become in its turn the greatest single source of error.
Michael Polanyi M., Scientific Outlook: Its Sickness and Cure,
Science, New Series, 125 (3246),
* Index & Epithet not in published dissertation
1. Having defined knowledge as a monotonic abstract Platonic noun, I will expand definition to include knowledge as a verb, specifically as a diaphonic verb speaking in two voices. “The tradition that there is a non-rational kind of knowing that rivals or even surpasses rational knowledge is as old as philosophy itself” (Dorter 1990, 37). These two realms – the rational and non-rational – have been at odds since the beginning of Western thought. And while the rational is embodied in our contemporary concept of Science, the non-rational has remained a wraith taking many forms, assuming many names and evading systemic identification. To Plato it was Art; to the Church Fathers it was Revelation; to the Scholastics it was analogy; to Adam Smith, it was moral sentiments; to Kant, it was ‘productive imagination’; to Michael Polanyi, it was subsidiary or tacit knowledge; to Thomas Kuhn, it was aesthetics, gestalt switching or intuition with “lightning flash”, “illumination” and “scales falling from the eyes” (Kuhn 1996, 111, 123, 155, respectively). To Erich Jantsch, it was Design (1975).
2. Having scanned, collected, sorted, compiled and considered argument and evidence of ‘knowledge about knowledge’ from the event horizons of seventeen sub-disciplines, this common theme was induced: Science by Design. In brief, there are two distinct yet intimately interrelated, interpenetrating and overlapping realms of human knowing:
· Science (or more broadly, reductive reasoning) that finds highest abstract expression in mathematics and highest concrete expression in instrumental science; and,
· Design which is a complex of human capabilities that finds highest abstract expression in the aesthetic/intellectual/spiritual experience and highest concrete expression in works of aesthetic and “technological intelligence” (Aldrich 1969, 381). In brief, it invokes pattern construction and recognition.
3. In all human activities - art, science, politics, religion, sport – both realms, both ruling powers, are at play. Differences are in balance, concentration, degree, focus or priority. I will first examine the idea of Science then Design and finally propose a reconciliation that may satisfy Kauffman’s hope “to glimpse a constructivist companion to the reductionist thesis” (2000, 268). In effect, I will argue that modern Science emerged from, is the progeny of, or is by way of a more generic and ancient realm of knowing called Design, hence, Science by Design. I will, in effect, argue that if the elemental biological human need to know is the
material cause of knowledge then Science by Design is its efficient cause, the agency of knowledge.
1. The unprecedented evolutionary ascent of our species to global dominion, achieved in some twenty-five generations, arguably resulted from the institutionalization of a new way of knowing - the experimental method, or, as it was originally known, ‘experimental philosophy’. Developed by craftsmen of the late or High Middle Ages of the western European civilization (Zilsel 1945), it was first fully articulated by a late Renaissance genius, Sir Francis Bacon in his Of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning Divine and Humane, published in 1605.
2. According to Bacon, human dominion was to be achieved by reducing Nature’s complexity through instrumentally controlled experimental conditions forcing her to reveal her secrets. She did. The question was first put using instruments developed in the craft workshops of the European Age of Discovery. It was here that Bacon saw the prototype of his ‘House of Solomon’, the house of wisdom and of knowledge. He called on scholars, practioners of the Liberal Arts, to come down from their ivory towers and test Nature in the workshops of the Mechanical Arts where, in his time, the necessary instruments were available. He also called for a History of the Trades to provide scholars with an understanding of the findings about Nature made by the rapidly advancing Mechanical Arts, e.g., ballistics, metallurgy, navigation, ship construction, etc. In this regard, Galileo’s research was in part funded by what today would be considered military contracts (Hill 1988).
3. It is therefore ironic that the concept of modern experimental instrumental science subsequently became hostage, first to class prejudice, then to propositional logic and finally, today, to sociological deconstruction. To explain this Babylonian captivity I draw mainly on three scholars, two of whom are Marketers (Michael Polanyi and Thomas Kuhn) while the third is a Marxist (Edgar Zilsel). Another connexion between them, not examined here is Copernicus, about whom each wrote (Zilsel 1940b; Kuhn 1957; Polanyi 1967).
4. Since the beginning of Western civilization, logic has been accepted as the preferred path to knowledge (Dorter 1990, 37). It distances us from our passions; it frees us from the distracting world of sensation and emotion. In the hands of the Romans the Greek logos became ‘reason’ derived from the Latin ‘ratio’ as in to calculate (OED, reason, n 1). And from the Romans we derive Science from the Latin scire “to know” which, in turn, derives from scindere “to split” (MWO). Science today is accepted as the epitome of reason deriving knowledge by
splitting or reducing a question into smaller and smaller parts or elements until a fundamental unit or force is revealed, e.g., Bentham’s utile or Newton’s gravity. Until innovation of the experimental method, however, such splitting and reducing was restricted to words.
5. Reductionism extends to epistemology, i.e., the theory of knowledge. Knowledge itself has been split into domains, disciplines, faculties and forms with an inevitable increase in incommensurability. Reductionism has, however, a significant advantage. It strips away secondary phenomena distinguishing cause from effect revealing in the natural sciences underlying ‘laws of nature’ (Taylor 1929, 1930; Zilsel 1942). Its success rests on the testing of cause and effect, or ‘when-then’ causality with Time’s Arrow moving out from the Past into the Present and then into the Future by way of prediction.
6. The critical epistemological difference between ancient and modern Science, leaving aside for the moment mathematics, is the scientific instrument forcing or reducing Nature to reveal her secrets. Epistemologically, Idhe calls this ‘instrumental realism’ (Idhe 1991). It is the design, development and operation of instruments of ever increasing sensitivity that has allowed humanity to pierce the veil of Nature, of appearances, and establish human dominion. Such instruments are not verbal constructs; they are tangible works of technological intelligence that measure and manipulate matter and energy.
7. Less than sixty years after Bacon formally articulated the new experimental philosophy, it attained political and religious legitimacy with a royal charter granted by Charles II to The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge incorporated in 1662 (Jacob & Jacob 1980). After its founding the Royal Society made several attempts to realize Bacon’s dream of erecting its own custom-built ‘House of Experiment’ (Shapin 1988). This was intended not only to provide facilities for the conduct of experiments but also for ‘artificial revelation’ for the general public (Price 1984, 9). Transparency and openness to public scrutiny, or witness, was also a Baconian ideal. It was to be though openness that public trust would be built and superstition dispelled. All attempts, however, failed. The Royal Society became a ‘talk shop’ for peer review of research conducted elsewhere and then published in its Philosophical Transactions. Similarly, the history of the trades was never completed and quietly faded from view.
8. According to what I call ‘the Houghton Hypothesis’, this turning away from the Baconian vision was the result of certain founding members of the Royal Society known as the virtuosi, most especially John Eveyln.
And what is true of Evelyn is true in general of the virtuosi, for we know that by 1667 natural philosophy had “begun to keep the best Company, and refine
its Fashion and Appearance, and to become the Employment of the Rich, and the Great, instead of being [as it still largely was in Bacon’s time] the Subject of their Scorn.” (Houghton Jan. 1941, 72).
9. The virtuosi were rich, educated curiosity seekers who sought neither knowledge-for-knowledge-sake nor utilitarian purpose. Rather they sought divertissement, diversion or entertainment with a consuming passion for the marvelous (Houghton Apr. 1942, 193), i.e., they wanted new and better toys. Scientific experiments were, to them, like antiquities, art and exotic seashells, i.e., curiosities.
10. These Cavaliers of the mind viewed the crafts as unworthy of gentlemen. They looked down upon the utilitarianism of their Roundhead compatriots who had won the civil war but lost the final battle with restoration of the monarchy and reestablishment of the gentle classes. Thus, Evelyn “… abandoned the history of trades, which Bacon [urged]…, because of ‘the many subjections, which I cannot support, of conversing with mechanical capricious persons’” (Houghton Apr. 1942, 199).
11. The Baconian ideal of the marriage of head and hand was, however, briefly resurrected in France about a hundred years later just before the Revolution, by Diderot, in his famous Encyclopeadia article entitled ‘Art’:
There, the cutler’s son made a plea for the mutual aid that the savant and craftsworker should offer one another. Theoretical training was counterproductive unless combined with a practical knowledge of basic physical properties. In the same breath, however, Diderot showed his appreciation of the organizing power of theoretical science by calling for a ‘Logician’ to invent a ‘grammar of the arts’. He deplored the secrecy and venality of the various guilds, which he felt stifled technical innovation… (Alder 1998, 508)
12. Arguably, ‘gentrification’ of Baconian science by the virtuosi delayed the Industrial Revolution in England by a century. It was not in fact until 1809 that the first research university was founded, not in London, but in Berlin transforming the mandate of the university - traditional and conservative heartland of Western knowledge - from interpretation of old to the generation of new knowledge. In England, Science continued to be a gentleman’s pastime generally practiced outside the university for the next two or three generations. In fact,
The men responsible for technological innovations . . . during the beginning of the Industrial Revolution were nonconformists who had been excluded from the universities and learned their science indirectly while pursuing their trade. In other words, the coupling between science and technology was very loose and did not rely on the established system of higher education. (Senate Special Committee 1970: 21)
13. It was also in the German-speaking world, but this time in Vienna, that articulation of the first modern philosophy of science was made in the 1920s by the so-called Vienna Circle. The Circle was made up of Otto Neurath, Moritz Schlick, Rudolf Carnap, Richard von Mises, Gustav Bergmann, Herbert Feigl, Philipp Frank, Kurt Gödel, Friedrich Waismann and, initially, Edgar Zilsel. The fruit of their labours was Logical Positivism, later renamed (arguably due to Zilsel’s criticism) as Logical Empiricism (henceforth ‘LPE’).
14. LPE begins with the form of scientific theories, not with scientific praxis. It assumes that the logical structure of any theory can be articulated independent of its content or instrumentation, e.g., physics, biology and chemistry. The Circle, and its successors including Karl Popper and Bertrand Russell's ‘logical atomism’, also formulated a verifiability principle or criterion of meaning. For LPE, any statement that cannot be logically proved true by virtue of the meaning of the words contained in its proposition (extended to include mathematical symbols and operators) was meaningless unless it could be empirically tested against experience and observation. In essence, a statement is valid only if it can be tested. This criterion penetrated deeply into the social sciences especially economics, e.g., Milton Friedman’s Essays in Positive Economics (1953). Accordingly, ethics, metaphysics, religion, and aesthetics were meaningless, i.e., were not knowledge. This firmly established what Michael Polanyi called ‘the ideal of scientific detachment” (Polanyi 1957, 483). Based upon these premises, LPE concluded by espousing a doctrine of unified science, i.e., there is no fundamental difference between physics and biology or between the natural and social sciences.
15. In effect, LPE turned Science back from experimental philosophy, or what Rheinberger calls ‘epistemic systems’ (Rheinberger 1997), to linguistic and mathematical logic in the process arguably becoming a form of post-Scholasticism. Zilsel, concerned with “analysis of the relationship between the rational laws of probability and empirical causal laws of nature” (Raven & Krohn 2000, xxxix), could not accept LPE as ‘empirical’, i.e., found in the real world of history, especially that of scientific discovery and practice. Zilsel despised all attempts by “schoolmasters... who would separate... philosophy from the empirical disciplines” (Raven & Krohn 2000, lv). In effect, LPE invokes what Baird (2004, 8) calls ‘semantic ascent’ up and away from the instrumental experimental realism of modern science. One is left with words, not empirical science. Like the English virtuosi, LPE practioners did not like to work with their hands, nor did they like those who did. Zilsel, on the other hand, was a Marxist.
16. With respect to LPE’s treatment of mathematics, Michael Polanyi observed:
This radical positivism taught that science consisted merely in establishing functional relations between the data observed by our senses and that any
claim that went beyond this was undemonstrable. A reality underlying mathematical relations between observed facts was a metaphysical conception, without tangible content. (Polanyi 1967, 178)
17. By the end of the 1940s LPE had declined in intellectual force as its aims proved unattainable, e.g., the unity of all sciences.
Its theories were softened down then by a series of qualifications, which amounted to abandoning any attempt at establishing a formal criterion of the meaning and validity of a scientific statement. The rise of analytic philosophy confirmed this abdication by abandoning the critique of science. Thus we are left today without any accepted theory of the nature and justification of natural science. (Polanyi 1967, 178)
18. Polanyi’s 1967 reference to ‘analytic philosophy’ is of specific relevance to the Anglosphere where it continued the path of semantic ascent (Ryle 1949; 1968). He did not, however, take account of what was happening in Western Europe where another direction was taken towards the sociological deconstruction of science. French philosophers such as Derrida (1930- 2004) and Foucault (1926–84) argued that Science, like all forms of human expression, is based on the sociological (or class) structure of society. Science is about power and understanding Science requires ‘deconstruction’ of texts and situations to determine who has the power, e.g., to have one scientific theory accepted and another rejected. That political power could warp Science, however, had already been demonstrated to Polanyi by the Lysenko affair in the Soviet Union (Polanyi 1950, 36)
19. Polanyi also did not account for the peculiar impact in the Anglosphere of Thomas Kuhn’s 1962 The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Kuhn 1996). This spawned what Idhe calls ‘the new philosophy of science’ (Idhe 1991). Kuhn’s first edition models scientific puzzle-solving within paradigmatic limits stressing the cognitive break that occurs with successive scientific revolutions. While anomalies may accumulate raising doubts about the validity of a paradigm, no revolution is possible without “scales falling from the eyes”, “lightning flash” and “illumination” (Kuhn 1996, 123). Cognitive psychology, rather than the sociology of a specialized community of interest sharing the same instruments, language, practice, talent and theory, was his initial focus. Specifically, he was concerned with scientific revolutions, not ‘normal science’.
20. By the second edition of Structure in 1970, and especially in his 1990 article “The Road since Structure”, Kuhn responded to critics of his ‘metaphysics’ by shifting emphasis to the sociological paradigm of ‘normal science’.
In reaction, sociologists, and even some philosophers of science, have practiced a sociological deconstruction of science, which has left that family
of disciplines with no claim whatsoever to epistemic justification. For the first school [LPE], science, with its sacrosanct method, stands serenely outside society, or else deigns to direct it by applying its superior procedure. For the second, science is reduced to politics: In effect, there is only society, no science.” (Grene & Depew 2004, 348)
21. Arguably today there is therefore no ‘Standard Model’ of the philosophy of science. Without a clear and articulate philosophy it is difficult for the general public to understand what Science is, and is not. Bacon and Conant wanted the general public to learn about Science in order to gain trust and respect for its practioners and leave them alone. This campaign has continued in the media and in the schools since Conant’s time but enrollment in science, engineering and mathematics, at least in the Anglosphere, continues to fall and the public is arguably becoming increasingly distrustful of big ‘S’ science.
22. The issue of GM food is a case in point. Well researched and well meaning ‘risk assessments’ are presented to a public that finds calculatory rationalism distasteful and probability unintelligible, e.g., everyone knows the odds of winning the lottery yet people keep on buying tickets. It would appear that the chances of winning are over-rated in lotteries while those of losing in the GM ‘cancer’ sweepstakes are similarly over-rated. Attempts have been made to place such questions in the epistemological context of known/unknown contingencies, e.g., Khatchatourian’s placing of GM food safety within the paradigm of Kuhn’s ‘normal science’ (Khatchatourians 2002). Something, however, is missing in the public mind – a coherent picture of what Science is about. Arguably, no such picture exists, even in Science itself. There is, however, hope. For the moment, however, I must turn to Design, expressed in the philosophies of biology, science and technology, as well as in aesthetics, psychology and economics.
1. The idea of ‘Design’ is eternally linked to a form of causality utterly rejected by physics and the positivistic philosophy of science – teleology: “the doctrine or study of ends or final causes” (OED, teleology). Using economic examples, Aristotle identified four causes of things to be the way they are:
material cause: that out of which a thing is made, e.g., economic inputs;
formal cause: the form or shape of the final thing, e.g., economic outputs designed to satisfy consumer needs;
efficient cause: the initiating agent, e.g., the entrepreneur or firm; and,
final cause: end purpose or teleos, e.g., profit.
2. Physics, as well as a positivist philosophy of science, gets along quite well using only material and efficient causes (cause-and-effect) while treating formal causes as questionable and denying final causes entirely. Put another way: “The physical world that Newton envisaged was a world that could be described in terms of material and efficient causes, in terms of particles of matter that exist in space and time and are moved by force” (McLeod 1957, 478). This can be called ‘billiard ball’ science involving inanimate matter and energy that has no will or volition of its own. This is an ideological perspective that in fact was required for the political and religious legitimization of the new experimental philosophy embodied in the royal charter to The Royal Society in 1660 (Jacob 1978; Jacob & Jacob 1980).
3. About this charter it is important to recall three things. First, before its grant, any tampering with Nature could be construed as witchcraft and alchemy with secular and religious consequences for their practioners. Outside of England, many experimental philosophers, including Galileo, experienced these consequences to their sorrow. Second, the English king, unlike European monarchs, was also head of the Church, the Church of England. Thus the charter was effectively an English bill of rights for experimental philosophy with respect to both politics and religion. This was unlike anywhere else in Europe. Third, it was granted nearly thirty years before the English Bill of Rights of 1689 which established a free press and democracy in England. Whether the first contributed to the second remains, for me at least, an open question.
4. In Some Considerations touching the Usefulness of experimental natural philosophy, written during the height of Cromwell’s Commonwealth in the 1650s, Robert Boyle provided the metaphysical rationale by placing the laws of the physical world, i.e., physics and mechanics, in stasis above and beyond human or divine intervention. This is known as the ‘Latitudinalist compromise’ (Jacob 1978). This argument was publicly expressed with the 1686 publication of Boyle’s A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature. The act of Creation had, he argued, once and forever, established the Laws of Nature. Having set the machine in motion God withdrew and Nature became the legitimate subject of experimental philosophy (Johnson 1940, 417). Ironically, Isaac Newton did not accept the new philosophy and continued to believe in miracles and divine intervention in the material world (Harrison 1995).
5. There were, however, two theological and one scientific exceptions. Theologically, the human soul and angels continued to be subject to the Divine. This limitation is reflected in Descartes’ separation of mind and body (or the ghost in the machine). This inhibition is also
apparent in the first study of humanity as a natural entity by Buffon, the father of anthropology, in 1749. He sought to be “protected from theological and philosophical objections because he carefully sequestered man’s ‘moral’ characteristics - the ‘metaphysical’ attributes of reason, free will, and so forth - from his natural history of the species” (Grene & Depew 2004, 323). The scientific exception was thus biology which had to wait for Kant, forty years later, to be at least partially liberated from religious restriction.
6. While physics functions very well with ‘when-then’ causality, many other disciplines depend on teleology or purpose to explain the object of their investigations. To understand the nature of Design I begin with etymology and then, in alphabetic order, consider its role in aesthetics, biology, economics, psychology and technology. I hope, like Kauffman’s patchwork procedure, to optimize overall understanding by considering Design in each of these disciplines of thought. Nonetheless, in doing so I know, like McLeod fifty years before me, that:
I am venturing down a pathway that for some centuries has appeared forbidding even to the angels, and that in taking a hesitant step in this direction I am identifying myself with a nonangelic group… I submit, however, that we should from time to time look again at the phenomena that invite a teleological explanation and make sure that we have done full justice to them. (McLeod 1957, 477)
1. With the discovery (or re-discovery) of perspective in the visual arts in the Renaissance, a new word entered the English language – design. The word derives from the Latin designare “to mark out, trace out, denote by some indication, contrive, devise, appoint to an office” (OED, designate, v). In Renaissance Italy ‘design’ assumed its contemporary aesthetic sense of geometric composition (Aldrich 1969) as distinct from its social sense of planning with a purpose. In French, these two are expressed by separate words: “dessein meaning ‘purpose, plan’; and, dessin meaning ‘design in art’” (OED, design, n, etymology). In English, however, both senses are combined in the single word ‘design’. What they share is intent, specifically the intent to make as opposed to understand the world at the disinterested distance afforded by Science. Design involves making patterns out of matter and/or mind, i.e., pattern construction, as well as recognition of purpose even in natural phenomenon like ships of clouds sailing across the living skies (Aldrich 1969, 381). The word ‘design’ itself entered the English language in 1588 followed fifteen years later in 1603 by ‘causality’ (OED, causality, 1), a word that arguably lies at the heart of the Scientific Revolution and is the conceptual foundation of the experimental method.
1. Design embraces the Renaissance sense of human progress residing in human hands. The Design revolution changed not just the concept of Western knowledge but also of the ‘knower’. The artist/engineer/humanist/scientist of the Renaissance inaugurated the Western ‘cult of the genius’ that survives and thrives to this day (Smith 1996; Woodmansee 1984; Zilsel 1918). In fact, Western intellectual property rights (IPRs) such as copyrights, patents, registered industrial designs, trademarks, etc., are legally based on the individual creative genius. The god-like power of human creation, ex nihilo, i.e., out of nothing (Nahm 1947), were thus first assigned to the Renaissance masters of perspective (Nahm 1950).
2. Aesthetics as a separate branch of philosophy (generally but not exclusively associated with the Beaux Arts or Fine Arts) appeared in the mid-18th century with the work of German philosopher Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (1714–62). It is important to note that “the original meaning of the term aesthetics as coined by Baumgarten… is the theory of sensuous knowledge, as a counterpart to logic as a theory of intellectual knowledge” (Kristeller 1952, 34). In effect, Baumgarten philosophically separated Art from subordination to politics and religion roughly a hundred years after the Scientific Revolution liberated experimental philosophy from the same masters. Formal aesthetics, like Science, however, distances itself from some human senses. In effect, sight and sound (the distant senses) are admitted while the contact senses of touch, taste and smell are excluded as disruptive to aesthetic contemplation. This distinguishes the sensuous (distancing) from the sensual (immediacy) (Berleant Winter 1964).
3. Where logic leads by reduction to Truth, aesthetics leads by Design to Beauty. The relationship between the two was expressed best by the poet, John Keats:
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” That is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
Ode to a Grecian Urn, 1820.
4. In Pythagorean terms, Beauty is “…a certain unity of diverse elements, [and] … harmony can be understood as the relation of these parts to the whole, and rhythm as their relation to one another” (Dorter 1973, 74-75). Thus:
when we say that some work of art “works,” we are not referring to its factual accuracy but to the crystallization of its facets into a cogent harmonic and rhythmic unity. This sense of beauty is the essential one in art, for it is certainly possible to regard an art work as beautiful even if it is representationally “inaccurate.” (Dorter 1973, 75-76)
5. The reference to ‘works’ as a verb catches the sense of knowledge resulting from successful making. This is also true, as will be demonstrated, of works of technological
intelligence (Aldrich 1969, 381). Another aesthetic term that successfully transcended disciplinary barriers, including those of the natural & engineering sciences and mathematics, is ‘elegant’. It derives from the Latin, meaning ‘choosing carefully or skilfully’ (OED, elegant, a, Etymology). One of its English meanings, however, is: “Of scientific processes, contrivances, etc.: ‘Neat’, pleasing by ingenious simplicity and effectiveness” (OED, elegant, a, 5a).
1. Among his many contributions Immanual Kant (1724–1804) established, as a law of nature, that the formal notion of the if-then relationship corresponds to the concept of cause and effect and that there is a single direction of causality, i.e., Time’s Arrow only moves from cause to effect, from past to present to future (Grene & Depew 2004, 93-4). This law, however, was limited by Kant to matter defined as lifeless stuff (objects) pushed or pulled by measurable forces through space/time, i.e., mechanics. This limitation was required because it was apparent to Kant that material and efficient causes (cause and effect) were insufficient to explain living things, i.e., biology. Through his questioning he at least partially liberated the study of biology from religious ideology just as Robert Boyle had liberated physics a century before.
2. Kant addressed the question of biology in his Critique of Judgement (1790) which is divided into two parts. The first is the “Critique of Aesthetic Judgment”; the second, the “Critique of Teleological Judgment”. The ordering is important. While works of technological intelligence, or artifacts, have purpose, works of aesthetic intelligence have purposiveness or meaningfulness but no purpose, i.e., no utilitarian function.
In aesthetic judgments, and especially in judgments of the beautiful, purposiveness is ascribed without reference to purposes, and indeed in their complete absence. This prepares the way for Kant’s ascription of purposiveness to living things, where purposes and purposiveness do not appear quite as separable. (Grene & Depew 2004, 101)
3. There were three aspects of living things that demonstrated to Kant that teleological or final causes were at play. I will call these: ecology, metabolism and ontogeny.
4. First, Kant could see that the web of mutually supportive relationships between various species of plants and animals constituting an ecology or ecological community was so complex that linear ‘when-then’ causality was simply insufficient to explain its existence. Second, in the metabolism of living things “each part is reciprocally means and end to every other. This involves a mutual dependence and simultaneity that is difficult to reconcile with ordinary causality” (Grene & Depew 2004, 94). Third, in ontogeny, or development of the individual, the
future mature end-state seems to guide successive stages of development. This appears a clear case of formal and final cause at work.
5. Having found teleological processes in living things, Kant was concerned to distinguish between Design and designer. To do so he contrasted machines (works of technological intelligence) from living things. Quite simply, parts of a machine are put together by people and parts do not bring other parts into existence, i.e., a machine is not a self-organizing entity. By contrast:
the parts of an organism are so mutually dependent and so tightly connected with the whole that it is difficult to say what, if anything, should come first and what should come later, as we must do when we design, build, and analyze (“reverse engineer”) artefacts. In this respect, Kant says that organisms are - or at least must be grasped by us as - self-formative, bootstrapping operations, in which each part appears to be the joint product of all the other parts. This is what Kant means when he says that an organism is “a product of nature in which everything is both an end and also a means” and in which the parts are “reciprocally cause and effect of [one another’sl form.” (Grene & Depew 2004, 98-99)
6. For Kant artifacts, machines and all other works of technological intelligence are finally caused by human purpose. Living things, however, do not require human or divine purpose but rather reflect a ‘natural purpose’. Kant called this form of causality purposiveness. He was so convinced of the inherent complexity of living things that he claimed:
it is absurd for human beings even to attempt it, or to hope that perhaps some day another Newton might arise who would explain to us, in terms of natural laws [cause and effect] unordered by any intention, how even a mere blade of grass is produced. (quoted in Grene & Depew, 2004, 94).
It should be noted, however, that Kant priorized these two forms of causality - mechanistic and purposive – always allowing mechanistic explanations, when available, to trump purposive causation. Thus he restricted the term “explanation” exclusively to mechanistic causality (Grene & Depew 2004, 107).
7. Kant wrote, however, just as the Cambrian explosion of knowledge was gaining momentum. Since his time, the experimental method has revealed much more about the nature of life. For example, Kauffman can now argue that Kant’s natural purpose is inherent in the chemical nature of matter itself. Given a sufficiently rich chemical broth, coevolution and coconstruction of ever more complex organic molecules will culminate in life (Kauffman 2000). In evolutionary terms, natural selection is thus complimented by the tendency of chemically active matter to assume increasingly complex form. We also now have technology to directly affect (or infect) living things with human purpose, i.e., biotechnology. In effect, the new
science of genomics combines human and natural purpose. One implication is that “it has become possible to think that biology can, for the first time, join physics and chemistry as a ‘technoscience’” (Grene & Depew 2004, 345).
8. Why matter is inclined to increasing complexity remains to be explained. Nonetheless, that matter forms increasingly complex patterns culminating in life cannot be denied, nor that living things have teleological purpose which, at a minimum, is survival and reproduction.
1. As previously demonstrated economics engages all four Aristotelian causes. In summary, the entrepreneur (efficient cause) is driven by profit (final cause) to manipulate inputs of matter and energy (material cause) into final outputs (formal cause) to satisfy human wants, needs and desire. Outside of the Standard Model, a number of economists have treated Design, expressing it, however, in widely varying terms.
2. Nathan Rosenberg, for example, has made explicit and extensive use of Design in his studies of innovation and ‘the black box’ (1974, 1976, 1994). He also complains about “academic snobbery” regarding “matters involving ‘hardware,’ including techniques of instrumentation, [that] are often dismissed as constituting an inferior form of knowledge” (Rosenberg 1994, 156). Similarly, Dasgupta and David identify the concept of “technological knowledge” which they argue should not “be assigned a subordinate epistemological status” to scientific knowledge, i.e., that derived by linear cause and effect (Dasgupta & David 1994, 494).
3. Ekkehart Schlicht, for his part, identifies pattern recognition as the means by which human institutions, customs and traditions are formed and maintained. These emerge, he argues, according to “rule preference” which “is of an essentially aesthetic nature” (Schlicht 2000, 40). Schilicht also notes that “customs, habits, and routines provide the bedrock for many economic and social formations yet our understanding of the processes that underlie the growth and decay of customs is very limited. The theory of social evolution has hardly commenced to evolve” (Schlicht 2000, 33). This runs, of course, completely against the Benthamite underpinnings of the Standard Model in which custom and tradition are excluded from consideration.
4. Brian Loasby (2003), in turn, places pattern recognition on ‘the seat of consciousness’ (OED, wit, n, I.1) displacing calculatory rationalism. The energy efficiency of pattern recognition compared to continuous calculation has, in evolutionary terms, made pattern recognition the dominant realm of human knowing. In the simplest terms, pattern recognition is dependent on the quality not the quantity of data. It is relational not reductive. According to
Loasby, such patterns form ‘connections’ altering the structure of the brain itself. His concept, which derives from Adam Smith and Fredrick von Hayek (1952), I call ‘connective knowledge’. Such patterns also characterize human behaviour which, when followed by many individuals, becomes what Loasby calls ‘routines’ or what I call ‘institutions’, i.e., routinized patterns of collective human behaviour. An example is the price system which emerged, and functions without conscious human planning yet is a product of human intelligence (Hayek 1989) created perhaps through circular causality (Freeman 1999) or the related economic concept of cumulative causality (Myrdal 1939).
5. Two forms of knowledge also form Adam Smith’s ‘system of social science. As is known, knowledge is gained in the Wealth of Nations (Smith 1776) through progressive and expanding division and specialization of labour, i.e., by reduction. In The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Smith 1759), however, knowledge is obtained through an innate moral sense or sympathy serving as the basis of market trust, i.e., by pattern recognition or Design.
1. From psychology I draw upon two sub-disciplines to demonstrate the role and place of Design – analytic and gestalt psychology.
2. The compositional unity identified by aesthetics in the 18th century arguably led to the formation of a new school of psychology in the 20th. Gestalt psychology was founded by Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Köhler in Germany in the early 20th century (Köhler 1959). The word gestalt derives from the German meaning “a ‘shape’, ‘configuration’, or ‘structure’ which as an object of perception forms a specific whole or unity incapable of expression simply in terms of its parts (e.g. a melody in distinction from the notes that make it up)” (OED, gestalt). If one looks at a tree one sees a whole, an entity, not a composite of leaves, branches, trunk and root. If one shifts attention to a part, the whole is lost from view. In effect, it is perception (knowledge) without reflection or projection. By reflection I mean interpretation or ‘thinking about’ the meaning of the image. By projection I mean ‘reading into’ the image an ex poste interpreted meaning. Or, as Jung says: “image and meaning are identical; and as the first takes shape, so the latter becomes clear. Actually, the pattern needs no interpretation: it portrays its own meaning” (quoted in Hillman 1980, 37). Here is knowledge without reason. Any attempt to analyze it, i.e., to reduce a work to its component elements sacrifices knowledge of the whole. Analysis is reductionism, not composition.
3. In the last half of the 20th century another incarnation of this non-rational way of knowing emerged, this time out of cognitive psychology through the study of neural networks and computer science with the study of artificial intelligence. It is formally called ‘pattern recognition’. Such research has led at least one observer to conclude that Science “is just another aspect of a fundamental human capability, that of pattern recognition and processing” (Sparkes 1972).
4. In analytic psychology there are many examples of pattern recognition of complexes and archetypical patterns of thought shared by all humanity in its collective unconscious (Jung  1970, 10). Some of these patterns have been formalized into testable typologies such as The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ®. Used extensively in North American business and education it attempts to identify and measure the faculties of knowing possessed by an individual. The mix of ‘types’ reveals how each individual learns best, i.e., accumulates knowledge, and best makes decisions. For my immediate purposes, however, I wish to highlight a patterning in Time identified by analytic psychology - synchronicity or the acausal connecting principle (Jung  1973).
5. Alternatively known as ‘meaningful coincidence’, synchronicity refers to the coincidental, yet meaningful, occurrence of events co-terminus in Time but with no causal connexion in space, i.e., no mechanical cause and effect. Synchronicity has been used to address questions such as: Why do things seem to happen in threes? Is there a connexion between mind and matter? (Peat 1987) and, Is there a pattern to human destiny? (Progoff 1973). Synchronicity was also used by Jung to distinguish the Chinese mindscape in his introduction to the I Ching or Book of Changes (Wilhelm 1950). This highlights a critical dimension of the global knowledge-based economy: that which constitutes knowledge varies, sometimes significantly, between cultures.
6. There is, however, another, rationale for synchronicity rooted in Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time (Heidegger  1996). As previously noted, Heidegger found that human thought (and therefore knowledge) operates only in Time, not in Space. Given the uni-dimensionality of thought it should not be surprising that the human mind is prone to find patterns or connexions between events in a given moment in Time – whether or not they are causally linked.
1. While no generally accepted term contra Science has emerged, to the ancient Greeks the closest was techne roughly meaning the useful or mechanical arts. The distinction was based, however, upon class: nobles practiced the Liberal (or free) Arts; slaves practiced the Mechanical Arts. It is from techne that, in 1859 the word ‘technology’, as we understand it, entered the English language (OED, technology, 1b). Ominously, however, Aldrich argues that the classicist attitude of studied indifference towards technology continues today but with the mechanical device cast in the role of slave (Aldrich 1969, 383). This may partially explain why enrollment in science, engineering and mathematics has declined in the Anglosphere, i.e., cultural contempt. This was certainly M.J. Wiener’s conclusion in his 1981 English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit, 1850 – 1980 treating the economic condition known in the 1970s as the ‘British disease’ before Margaret Thatcher came to power.
2. In the history and philosophy of technology Edwin Layton stresses Design as a form of knowledge distinct from Science and highlights the central role it plays in engineering (Layton 1974). Similarly Derek De Solla Price highlights the distinct cognitive impact of scientific instruments compared to reason and theory. This is captured in his description of the impact of Galileo’s telescope as “artificial revelation” (Price 1984, 9).
3. Works of technological intelligence are in fact recognized or ‘known’ by their purpose or intent. In the philosophy of science, Michael Polanyi cites the hammer as an example (M.Polanyi 1962a, 175). In the philosophy of technology this sense is captured by ‘instrumental realism’ (Idhe 1991) and ‘instrumental epistemology’ (Baird 2004) that, in turn, derive from Heidegger’s existential phenomenological hammer (Idhe 1991). (The connexion between Polanyi’s and Heidegger’s hammer will be discussed below.) Baird, for his part, explicitly identifies the “design paradigm as the most promising recent development in the epistemology of technology” (Baird 2004, 149).
4. Arguably, however, technology represents the ultimate in human Design. As Heidegger (Heidegger 1957) suggests technology enframes and enables human life. In effect, it constructs a distinct human ecology growing ever more distant from Nature as the knowledge explosion continues to expand. An extreme example is space travel during which humans cannot live in the natural environment, nor on any off-world destination of which we know. Even on Earth, as previously noted the average Canadian now spends 94% of one’s time cocooned within a human built environment. Consider coming home from the office in a car, unlocking the door to the house, turning on the lights, making supper using appliances, watching television, checking
one’s email then driving to the local mall to shop. All is technology. Technology enframes and enables us, defines and patterns activity in the human ecology.
1. As demonstrated above, whether it is aesthetics, biology, economics, engineering, physics, psychology or technology, behind the bright focal light of reductive Science there lurks a subsidiary, non-rational, shadowy, background way of knowing called Design. Design relies on final and formal causes. Positivistic Science relies on material and efficient causes, i.e., cause and effect. How can this duality of Science & Design be reconciled? How can material, formal, efficient and final causes be re-united some 2,400 years after Aristotle and 400 years after the Scientific Revolution? In terms of the Ancients, how can we achieve enantiodromia – a resolution of apparent opposites?
1. One solution is to simply accept their opposition and use each appropriately. This is the solution in physics with respect to the particle/wave paradox of light: sometimes it is a particle, sometimes a wave. Arguably, this is the state of affairs today - epistemological pragmatism. Alternatively, one may be a special case of, or descendent from the other, e.g., Science as a special case of Design, or vice versa.
1. If Design is a special case of Science then resolution lies in more detailed reduction of the material world of DNA, neurons, lobes and brain stems. If one were to apply only material and efficient causality, i.e., the ‘when-then’ causality of mechanics, one arrives, however, at a most uncomfortable conclusion:
Admitting that no process known to be governed by the present laws of physics and chemistry is also known to be accompanied by consciousness, we might yet suppose that a future enlargement of physics and chemistry might account for the sentience of certain material structures. It would seem unwarranted to retain for such structures the conception of automatic functioning, which is derived from our present physics and chemistry. Action and reaction usually arise together in nature. Hence, it would seem reasonable to expect that the new physics and chemistry, which would account for the production of consciousness by material processes, would also allow for the reverse action, that is, of conscious processes acting on their material substrate. (Polanyi 1957, 483)
2. Alternatively, such physical forms, i.e., DNA, brain stems, etc., are part of the biosphere where purpose plays a primary role, unlike the inanimate geosphere of billiard ball physics and mechanics. This line of thought leads back to circular causality (Freeman 1999). While higher order states like consciousness may arise from matter the mechanisms by which they arise and how, once established, sustain themselves remains problematic at best. This is the case only, however, if Design, or causality by purpose, is not admitted. Coevolution and coconstruction of increasingly complex forms, rather than linear cause and effect, appear to be primary forces, together with natural selection –from the molecular to the organic to the ideological to the cosmic level (Kauffman 2000).
3. And a meta-methodological dilemma arises if one assumes Design is a special case of Science. I know that I know and it is with this reality that I must deal no matter the epiphenomenal roots of my consciousness, or ‘the ghost in the machine’. Put another way, knowing how I know is not knowing what I know.
4. Hostage to propositional logic, the traditional positivist philosophy of science is based on mechanical physics or billiard ball science. With innovation of quantum physics, however, probability rather than certainty became the test. And here the law of large number comes into play.
5. The law of large numbers was in fact the subject of Edgar Zilsel’s doctoral dissertation (Raven & Krohn 2000, xx). It is, however, as he recognized, not a ‘law of nature’ but rather a mathematical law. As such, Nature’s frequencies need not, and often do not, correspond to expected results. The tension between these two types of laws is what Zilsel called ‘the application problem’ (Raven & Krohn 2000, xxxix). Arguably, it is this fact that led him to reject LPE as non-empirical. In other words, scientific proof lays in putting Nature to the test, not in mathematics and logic, no matter how helpful they may be in the testing process itself. Today this is evident in simulation modeling in all natural & engineering and many social sciences. In effect, a reiterative computer search is made for mathematical formulae that approximate results obtained through the experimental testing of Nature. (Differences in the source and quality of evidence collected in the natural & engineering and the social sciences will be discussed below.) Such simulation models are, of course, examples of Design, i.e., of construction, not reduction.
1. On the other hand, if Science is a special case of Design then there should be not only differences but also commonalities between the two. First, experimental instrumental science is, in fact, an organized and routinized pattern of human behaviour, a recognizable institution that has been called ‘The Republic of Science’ (M. Polany 1962b). This pattern, however, has been routinized only recently in historical terms (about four hundred years) and remains fragile (Kuhn 1996, 167-168). Nonetheless, there is nothing ethnocentric about the experimental method itself. It is now part of the global public domain practiced around the world.
2. This behavioural pattern is in fact so recent that Joseph Henderson in his analysis of the four primary psycho-cultural attitudes - social, religious, aesthetic and philosophic – concludes: “we cannot claim for science… the same epistemological authenticity that we can demonstrate in the four basic cultural attitudes” (Henderson 1984, 77). He suggests, however, that a ‘scientific attitude’ may be emerging as a hybrid of the philosophical attitude “to limit man’s subjectivity to a minimum in observing the nature of man or God” and aesthetic objectivity in “observing nature and man from a significant distance” (Henderson 1984, 77). This aesthetic distancing, in the hands of the German poet Goethe in fact generated an alternative science. Known as ‘Goethean Science’, it is exemplified in his Theory of Colours (Goethe 1810) written to refute Newton’s materialistic analysis. The power and intensity of aesthetic observation is succinctly demonstrated therein.
3. Another facet of being a special case of a higher order is evidence of that higher order operating within the special case. Sparkes thus concludes: “pattern recognition is undoubtedly a deeply ingrained human capability, and that it should be used for the kind of information processing which goes on in science seems beyond reasonable doubt” (Sparkes 1972, 41). The repeated use of the terms aesthetics, design, gestalt and intuition by Thomas Kuhn in explaining The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is also evidence of the operation of Design within Science itself.
4. In fact there does appear to be a common theory of knowledge in the modern philosophies of biology, science and technology, respectively in the work of Marjorie Grene (1911- ), Michael Polanyi (1891–1976) and Martin Heidegger (1889–1976). Their common theory flows from gestalt psychology which, as has been demonstrated, derives from aesthetics and, ultimately from the Design Revolution of the Renaissance. This ‘gestalt knowing’ constitutes a commensurable set of ideas or an ideological commensurability.
5. In the case of Polanyi’s philosophy of science, he explicitly claimed to expand gestalt psychology into a theory of knowledge (M. Polanyi Oct. 1962, 605). Even Thomas Kuhn’s philosophy of science is gestalt in nature with its paradigms, anomalies and gestalt-switchings. In the case of Grene, gestalt theory is implicit in her view of knowledge as orientation in an environment populated by invariants and affordances. In the case of Heidegger, he claims that the true essence of technology is ‘enframing’, a word translated from the German Ge-stell (Heidegger 1954, 15) and arguably related to gestalt meaning “a ‘shape’, ‘configuration’, or ‘structure’. The fact that all three share this common epistemology may, or may not reflect the fact that Grene studied under Heidegger in the 1930s and later worked with Michael Polanyi in the 1950s (Cohen June 2005).
6. Even the media used by Science – language and mathematics – can be considered Design. It has thus been argued that the nature of the Greek alphabet itself facilitated development of Western thought. Marshall McLuhan, following the lead of his mentor, Harold Innis (1950, 1951) noted that while we recognize the fundamental differences between the perception of literate and preliterate peoples we do not appreciate the impact of different alphabets on perception. McLuhan argued that only phonetically literate man lives in a ‘rational’ or ‘pictorial’ space. The discovery or invention of such a cognitive space that is uniform, continuous and connected was an environmental effect of the phonetic alphabet in the sensory life of ancient Greece. This form of rational or pictorial space is an environment that results from no other form of writing, Hebrew, Arabic, or Chinese (McLuhan and Logan 1977).
7. If a phonetic alphabet creates a rational space in the mind then mathematics surely creates a ‘supra-rational’ one. In this extreme space only the most rational of hypotheses can be tested. It was, of course, Pythagoras who first recognized a cognate relationship between matter and number and it was this connexion that arguably led LPE to restrict knowledge to propositional terms best expressed in mathematics. From this perspective, language and mathematics are advanced forms of Design with literacy and numeracy being but sophisticated forms of pattern recognition.
8. As Science explores deeper into matter and farther out into space, it continues to discover Design. Fractal mathematics, discovered by Mandelbrot, is a case in point. A fractal denotes a shape that seen from near or far appears the same. Arguably, this confirms the old alchemistic adage: “As Above, So Below”. The term entered English in a Scientific American article of 1975 in which it was noted:
It seems that mountain relief, islands, lakes, the holes in Appenzeller and Ementhaler cheeses, the craters of the moon, the distribution of stars close to
us in the galaxy and a good deal more can be described by the use of generalized Brownian motions and the idea of the fractal dimension. (OED, fractal, n, a)
9. Thus the laws of Nature and of mathematics are, in a sense, examples of Design, of patterns. And in this way, Science is a special case of Design. The human tendency to make and see pattern and order everywhere, however, finds ultimate expression, rightly or wrongly, in ‘The Argument from Design’, an ancient argument for the existence of God:
In its most fresh and innocent form, it went something like this: you can tell by observing the order in the universe that the universe has been designed. This implies the existence of the Designer, whom, as Aquinas said, men call God. According to the wonderful story that this suggested, in the Beginning was the Designer with his Design or Purpose. (Aldrich 1969, 379)
On the more prosaic level of the competition of nations in a global knowledge-based economy, Alfred Marshall noted long ago that: “it is every day more true that it is the pattern which sells the things” (emphasis added, Marshall 1920; 178).
10. It is important to note in this regard that Science has progressively pushed God further and further out of the picture, in fact beyond the frame. Boyle liberated mechanics and physics; Kant partially liberated biology while, arguably, Kauffman has completed the process by demonstrating the natural chemical tendency of matter to assume increasingly complex forms, ultimately of life itself. Today, the patterns and design of Nature – in both the geosphere and biosphere – can be explained without the assistance of an external agency called God. In the noösphere, however, it may or may not be another question.
1. If Science is a special case of Design then the question still remains from whence does it arise? All organisms live in an active environment, enframed by invariants, and faced with affordances - opportunities and dangers – that constantly challenge the organism in its purpose – survival and reproduction. In an environment, all knowledge is orientation relative to such invariants and affordances. Invariants like a picture frame defining one’s field of vision become subsidiary to focused attention on affordances. Many organisms do not, however, simply adapt to the environment. Some actively seek to adapt and modify it to better satisfy their needs, e.g., the ant, bee and beaver. Essentially this involves constructing new invariants, e.g., colonies, hives or lodges.
2. Arguably, the first cell membrane separating and defining an organism from a pervasive outside environment is an example of the innovation of a new invariant: within there is homeostasis and order, without there is chaos. Then a common skin coevolved to enframe
different types of organisms, or cell types, into the collaborative internal organs of multi-organed life forms such as humanity. Arguably, the same is true for ideology. As Arthur Bentley writes in “The Human Skin: Philosophy’s Last Line of Defense”:
“Inner” and “outer” are ever present distinctions, however camouflaged, in philosophical procedure as well as in conventional speech-forms and in the traditional terminology of psychology. What holds “inner” and “outer” apart? The answer must come not by way of transcendental build-up but by indications of pertinent fact. Bluntly the separator is skin; no other appears. (Bentley 1941)
3. Of all organisms on earth, humanity has had the greatest success in structuring its environment. Tools are the means by which humanity animates Nature. They move and change it to suit human purpose. In fact, before art, culture or language, there was tool making. Tools provide primae facia evidence of the arrival of our species: artifacts left by our first ancestor, homo habilis or the ‘handy man’, some two and a half million years ago (Schuster 1997).
4. Using its opposable thumb, humanity reached out to shape the material world to compensate for its frailty – no great size, no claws or talons and tiny canine teeth. To eat and survive predation, the human brain reached out with finger-thumb coordination to grasp and shape parts of the world into tools with which to then manipulate other parts, e.g., to kill game, plant seeds, build shelters. It appears, from the fossil record, that the opposable thumb preceded and, in a path-dependent manner, contributed to the subsequent and rapid growth and development of the human brain itself.
5. In this regard, the word ‘concept’ derives from the Latin concipere ‘to conceive’ that in turn derives from ‘to take’ and, as I understand it, colloquially, meant ‘to grasp firmly with the hand’ or, in Sicilian, ‘to steal’. Thus a concept is a grasping and manipulation of the world – inner or outer – using mental tools, the evolutionary descendents of finger and thumb exercises of prehistoric humanity.
6. Patterning or tooling Nature thus precedes, and I argue, established path dependency leading to symbolic patterning of words and numbers as well as modern technology. As Aldrich observes:
It is with our hands that, fundamentally, we perform as artists in the technological operation. As such, our soul is in our hands. The eye may guide the hand but, in this case, the seeing is for the sake of the handling. Technological intelligence does not come to rest in the eye or the ear. Its consummation is in the hand. (Aldrich 1969, 382)
7. Where tools and technology enframe and enable our physical life, ideologies enframe and enable mental life by providing socially agreed conceptual invariants. Traditional examples
are religious inhibitions, prohibitions and taboos. Science can thus be considered as focal attention on affordances (new knowledge) in an environment enframed by subsidiary invariants. These take the form of assumptions used in hypothetical-deduction, or, alternatively, invariants as controlled experimental conditions under which we test cause and effect. In this view, Science by Design provides knowledge as orientation in the noösphere, just as our physical senses provide knowledge as orientation within the biosphere.
8. I have now thrown monotonic knowledge as a noun down the mountain side to acquire mass and momentum becoming a diaphonic verb acquiring knowledge through Science by Design. Plucked whole, the Pythagorean string produces the monotone. Tapped off it produces two tones or the Dyad, the second stage in the Pythagorean Tetraktys. The Dyad is not, however, Marxian thesis/antithesis. It is not all black or white. Rather it is a single whole defined by the interaction of its two differing halves. The classical image is the Chinese “t’ai chi t’u” or “the supreme ultimate” displayed as a circle curvilinearly divided into the light and dark of yin and yang (Wilhelm 1929, 249). Each half, however, contains the seed of the other - a white dot on black, a black dot on white. In a manner of speaking, two distinct monads, e.g., body and mind, express themselves as one – the individual human being. Similarly, two different ways of knowing – Science & Design – contribute to what we call knowledge. And hopefully, as Kenneth Boulding wrote: “where knowledge is an essential part of the system, knowledge about the system changes the system itself” (1966, 9).
9. Having established a common gestalt-like epistemology across the philosophies of biology, science and technology, as well as aesthetics, economics and psychology, I now turn to the physical form assumed by knowledge. Form, according to Francis Bacon, is “the real or objective conditions on which a sensible quality or body depends for its existence” (OED, form, n, 4 c).